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July 2017

Wellness

I Quit Sugar: Here’s What Happened

I’m not really a sugar person- I say that and I know what you’re thinking, but growing up I was super sensitive to sugar and actually was really disliked sugary cereals, donuts and pastries. I had this idea that things that weren’t supposed to be sweet- shouldn’t be. So my go-to cereals were corn flakes and cheerios basically.

I don’t even really remember like going ham and developing a sweet tooth during Halloween (popcorn balls were my JAM though.) To this day, I’m that person who asks “is the almond milk sweetened? Or “is that matcha tea like actual matcha tea or like from a mix?” or even “do you mind if i just see the bottle of almond milk that you’re using?” I know, it’s bad and I’m not proud of it, but 9 times out of 10 sugar is added onto already sugary things- which isn’t ideal. 

If you don’t know me, I’m already a pescatarian that eats mostly gluten-free, the most organic that I can afford and almost no dairy. I eat high raw, plant-based foods and supplement my diet with superfoods and adaptogens. I think that eating well is super important and I place a high emphasis on it. That’s also because I believe it’s the key to emotional and physical happiness and as my mom always says, pay now or pay later (aka health is wealth).

But getting back to sugar-I learned later in life that contrary to popular belief, sugar was the real enemy, not fat. It not only made us gain weight because it spiked our insulin, it was also being linked to thyroid and autoimmune diseases.  I also found out how much sugar is linked to depression, can cause inflammation, AND is more addictive than heroin.  Convinced yet? I sure was. A few months ago, I decided to QUIT SUGAR for 20 days. Here’s what happened.

Prep makes perfect

I went into this sugar detox with an open mind ( and a cleared out pantry) which was key because ravaging through your pantry like a sugar crazed person can happen people! Thanks to some pre-reading as part of my friend Summer’s SugarDetoxMe program, I felt educated and informed enough before even starting my detox.

I also made the smart decision to not go cold turkey, instead phasing out all things sugar gradually (starting with sugary beverages first, then sugary fruit and food) and stocked up on veggies, legumes, protein and plant-based goodness to start my cleanse.

 

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As far as cleanses go, not gonna lie the struggle was REAL

To be honest, the first few days were ROUGH- and actually worse than I had expected. I felt an overwhelming crankiness take hold of my body more powerful than PMS or juice cleanse cranky. It wasn’t even that I was hangry (aka the main side effect of a juice cleanse) — this was because I was going through a sort of “withdrawal” state as my body cut out sugar.

I quickly found out that the rumours were true- our bodies experience a serious withdrawl when we steadily cut out sugar because consuming sugar is directly tied to dopamine levels.

 

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Translation: taking a bite of a Twix instantly provides the body a sense of calm and happiness that helps overcome stress studies have shown sugar to be more addicting than cocaine because of this. 

I learned all of this in the prep phase of my SugarDetoxMe cleanse. It was super helpful and helped to put my crankiness into perspective as I knew in the back of my mind I was doing good things for my body. Oh and Sarah Wilson, author of “I Quit Sugar” advocates for occasional glasses of wine during a sugar detox so that helps too..

Don’t worry, it gets better.

Not only did I see changes in my skin and body, but I gravitated towards healthier choices the longer I detoxed. Cravings subsided after day 5 ( insert sigh of relief here). I found that I began to crave sugar less and less as the days went on. It also was a rude awakening because it showed how much my body had become dependent on sugar, even though I consume low levels on a daily basis. Mindless cravings and sugar consumption that crept up on stressful days were a thing of the past. 

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The rumors are true, brain fog because of sugar is a THING people

I would totally do it again again though just because I experienced such drastic changes in my mental clarity.

I didn’t have any overarching “fuzzy” feeling or trouble concentrating on tasks. I found myself thinking clearer and performing my usual day to day with ease and better than ever.

I had heard this was an upside ditching sugar, but I felt seriously amazing, I’m talking like “I don’t need coffee I’m ready to embrace the day” amazing. This feeling alone made quitting sugar so worth it.

So why should you quit sugar?

Sugar detoxing isn’t just the newest craze that everyone is frothing over. Quitting sugar, even for 3 days can help you realize how much of an impact it has on your lifestyle and give you the strength to dial back accordingly.

Side-note, part of the many reasons on why I’m so fascinated by holistic/healthy living is that my family has a history of thyroid disease so the cards are basically stacked against me.

Hearing how much sugar played a role in these scary, life threatening diseases made me pay attention. It wasn’t just about a trendy detox anymore, it made me seriously consider lifestyle habits and question the overall food choices we have every day.

Even today, I’m still super sugar conscious and consider myself very conservative except for partaking in juice cleanses and eating fruit, I still wanted to see if I could kick the sugar and see how doing so would affect my mind and overall mood.